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Brewdog sparks 'diplomatic incident' with Government of South Australia

Following the announcement that they could soon be opening a brewery in Australia, it seems Brewdog have already drawn the ire of the Government of South Australia.

Published: August 30, 2017

The Ellon-based brewer, which recently opened its new brewery in Columbus, Ohio, in the US, has turned its attention to possibly opening a third brewery Down Under.

The beer brand have even appointed former employee Zarah Prior to head up the search.

However, after it was announced Prior would be focusing the initial searches around the “fast-developing” areas of Brisbane in Queensland and Newcastle in New South Wales, the Agent General of South Australia, Bill Muirhead, was prompted to invite the brewers to consider relocating to Adelaide in southern Australia instead.

A spokesperson for the Government of South Australia then said that Brewdog, "in a display of supreme arrogance", neglected to reply to their overtures.

Outraged over the lack of respect apparently shown by the Scottish company, the South Australia Government, who say they are renowned for investing tens of millions of dollars in European companies, have decided to respond to Brewdog in what they describe as the "only language they understand", with a fiery open letter written by the Agent General - with accompanying video - taking aim at the craft beer makers.

The letter, which is addressed to founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, which pokes fun at Brewdog's recent decision to sell a considerable stake in its company to a private equity firm, reads: "We called to congratulate you, bit surprised we haven't heard back. In Adelaide we pour beer on our Weet-Bix and use it as sunscreen. It's an oasis for beer-swilling small business. Scrappy buggers like you are the state's lifeblood we thought you'd be knocking down our door."

The letter which then accuses them of selling out before describing Adeliade as the punk state and the perfect place for Brewdog to get "back to their roots".

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It finishes: "Lads, this is the post Brexit world. You can't afford to dither between no deals and bad deals, you need good deals. And Adelaide's prepared to offer you one. Let's make it happen."

A video was also created in which Deputy Agent General James Mraz reiterates the call for Brewdog to come to Adelaide before interviewing local equity punks in Edinburgh (including Hardeep Singh Kohli) and finishing with a plea that Brewdog should "avoid a diplomatic incident" by responding to their invitation.


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As part of the campaign a facebook page with the title 'Bring BrewDog to Adelaide'  has been set up and already has close to 400 followers.

Speaking to The Scotsman Food and Drink, Agent General Bill Muirhead said: "We wanted to get their attention, so let's see if they'll respond to fairly direct letter.

"I'm a big fan of Brewdog, and I think that if they want to be in Australia, they ought to be in South Australia because we are bloody good at making beer.

"Australia, which many people don't understand, is made up of states, each state is pretty big and we have our own characteristics.

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"In South Australia we have a lot of time for the Scots and we have a lot of Scots here too and we thought Brewdog should be here and that we could have a chat about it - I think we could definitely help them.

"We still haven't heard anything from them yet but if they'd done their homework they'd already be knocking on our door."

At time of writing, Brewdog had been contacted, but had yet to respond to the open letter or our requests for comment.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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